Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thoughts On A Thursday: Sarah Palin, Lady Gaga Edition

What do these two women have in common? They're both nuts!

Going to just be a bit random here, as it's a Thursday morning and I'm barely awake. So let's see. As usual, these are my opinions and thoughts, probably with little justification or facts backing them up!


Boy, that Sarah Palin! It sure seems that everything she does instantly becomes news, right? In the past two weeks I've seen headlines about people she's endorsed, questions about whether she had a boob job (for an increase not decrease), a story on her daughter Bristol Palin being in a soap opera, and so on.

You'd almost think she didn't scare half the country to death.

But she does. And this is what I find so strange about the talk about her being the nominal leader of the Republican Party right now, half the country is downright terrified of her. Terrified of her smirk, of her proud ignorance, of her obvious backpeddling on positions that she once endorsed ("Drill, baby, drill!"). I mean, she is a big, big reason why Old Man McCain lost the last election. Anyone who was Democrat refused to jump lines (there were no McCain Democrats, ala Reagan), and most independents were also scared away by her obvious joy in being on the wrong side of just about every issue.

If she is the best the Republicans can do expect them to definitely lose the 2012 Presidential election. Closer to home I predict that the candidates she endorses will continue to lose, and that she herself will continue to be an overall drag on the Republican Party.

What has happened to The Elephants anyway? Whereas they once portrayed themselves as the party of the grownups, the party of responsibility in all its various guises, now the best figurehead they can rustle up is a former, not even one term, governor from one of our smallest states? A person who polorizes everywhere she goes? And this is considered good? What am I missing?


And Democrats have had to learn, alas, that Obama is not an idealized figment of their most fervent imagination, but an actual living, breathing, flawed man. He is, hold steady, not perfect. He has and will continue to make mistakes. In this he will be like every other person that ever walked the planet. I can accept this, but can other Democrats? Do they have another choice?

It seems like Obama is getting it from all sides these days, and I can understand why. The economy, despite somehow being "better" still is terrible, unemployment is high and not getting better, and other key indicators, like housing, are not promising.

Mostly, though, Obama has been shown to be somewhat of an unengaged technocrat when it comes to the oil spill. He tries to project that he cares, but people don't really believe him. His response to the entire crisis has been as agonizing, in some ways, as the spill itself. What else could he have done? I don't know. He's gotten BP to agree to a $20 billion cleanup, which is a hell of a lot more than George Bush 1 wrested from Exxon in the wake of the Valdez tragedy. In fact Exxon fought the notion that they were responsible for the Valdez incident tooth and nail for about 20 years. In the end they went back and back and back to court to reduce whatever monies they had to pay, even though the disaster was clearly their fault.

But we want to believe Obama can make this spill stop, go away, magically get capped. But it can't.

It might be interesting to know that during Reagan's first term he was not all that popular, not with Democrats mind you, but Republicans. Two years into his first term he was stuck in a recession, and there was a lot of talk in the Republican party of dumping Reagan, of having him step gracefully out of the spotlight so they could find someone else for the 1984 election.

Of course none of this happened, and in 1984 he won in the biggest landslide in modern American politics. What changed? The recession ended, and the economy turned around, that's all. If Obama can also cruise into 2012 with an economy that is getting noticeably stronger he will be in great shape, especially if the Republicans continue to heed the siren song of their ignorant muse, Sarah Palin. As a Democrat this would make me happy, but as an American this makes me very sad indeed.


This truly has nothing to do with anything, but I am concerned about Lady Gaga's recent antics at the Mets and Yankees games she attended. Apparently she stripped down at both of them, acted totally weird, but not in a good way, and just generally projected an air of crazy. What I'm thinking is, here we go again. She is starting to crack.

Look, I have no idea what it's like to actually live in the spotlight, but all the evidence around me seems to prove that it's extremely unhealthy for young adults to find themselves there for long periods of time. Look at Michael Jackson, look at Corey Haim, look at anyone who ever went near the set of Diff'rent Strokes. Lindsey Lohan, the list goes on. If you are a young person and become world famous the odds are good you will go totally nuts. Again, look at Britney Spears.

Britney, what a odd trajectory she had. She went from computerized jail bait/sex kitten, to crazy woman, back to emotionless dancing fembot. And we are supposed to be happy that she's back "entertaining" and being anorexic. But instead, to me, she just looks joyless and dead inside. Indeed when she went nuts, shaved her head, attacked a car with an umbrella, all that, she was showing actual, real emotion. It just wasn't emotion that seemed all that healthy or good for her.

The crackups always start with something small. With Michael Jackson it was the story that he had bought the Elephant Man's bones. Worldwide we all just kind of went, huh? But otherwise he seemed more or less normal, so we ignored this weird sign. Soon he was bleaching his skin and having sleep overs with little kids. Did he molest them? Who knows? Was it creepy? Hell yes!

With Britney Spears the first sign of weirdness was that she was, brace yourselves, smoking! (Oh for the day this seemed strange.) Yes, you remember now, right? She was caught smoking on a balcony, which totally contradicted her wholesome (as wholesome as jail bait can be, I guess) image. Remember, she endorsed George W. Bush, and had been a Mousekateer. She was supposed to be the perfect American Girl. But there she was smoking, an actual real live American Girl now, and people were upset. Soon she was having affairs, getting married for two days, and driving barefoot with her babies in tow. The downfall came fast, and it all started with some smokes.

With Lindsey Lohan the first sign of trouble came from reports that she was being rude and cranky on the sets of her various films. Showing up late, not knowing her lines, all that. Again, not a huge deal, but a portent of things to come.

With Lady Gaga this odd, self-defeating behavior at the baseball games may be what we, years down the road, mark as the start of her crackup. After all, what did she accomplish with these displays? Nothing other than to alienate scores of fans in her own hometown. For what? Some cheap publicity? She's already one of the biggest stars on the planet, and about to headline a bunch of shows at MSG. To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld not all exposure is good exposure, in fact you could die from exposure.

This is a shame, because at 23 years old, she looks to be full of potential and actual musical talent. But the media is so all devouring, so constant that I fear she will never get to live up to this potential if she doesn't learn to take a step back.

All these stories form a pattern. So many of these child/young adult stars are so contained, so precocious, so controlled in everything they do, until one day ... they aren't. At all, and then they fall to pieces in a violent, agonizing way. We forget now, but just five years ago Lindsey Lohan was a fresh faced, sweet as pie, wholesome All American girl, who had just starred in a series of Disney films. "Mean Girls" was not to be her swan song, but her coming out party. And in that movie there are entire scenes where you can see the young, sweet person she seemed to be. Now she's an absolute train wreck, and when she puts a blond wig on she looks not like Marilyn Monroe, but her own middle aged mother. My god, she's what, 25?

Anyway, I don't need to recap the whole sad list, but I think of all the talents a young star can have the talent that is most important is the talent for preserving themselves, learning how to say no to the spotlight and risking the public's short memory so they don't burn out and get consumed by their own notoriety. First they are famous then they are infamous. This is a shame when actual talent is at stake, yes, but it's also a shame when actual lives are consumed.

Me? I'm glad I'm peeking late. :-)


Anonymous said...

Yes, completely without facts and verification should be your mantra. You may have noticed that Sarah Palin is not an actual politician, so why the Doctor Stranglove obsession that you and your kind have with her. She is a private citizen and not the head of a party.

The warts and all, lack of executive or any other type of experience found in your new age inflatable hero, Barack the Great, are showing now that the country actually needs something that resembles leadership. What could he have done about the oil spill? He could have accepted help from the various nations and parties that offered it for one. The economy still stinks and his moment is fading so quickly that he's exposed himself for the neophyte, incompetent, nothing we always knew him to be. Your obviously too young, and also too lazy, to actually remember Reagan, otherwise you wouldn't be spouting off about him. He was very well liked by the Middle and the Right, but not by the extreme left, a badge of honor. There was no "Dump Reagan" campaign; you’re just making that up to suit your diatribe. Please don't pretend to be a historian when you're only in command of an extremely biased, subjective opinion.

Get off the Sarah Palin kick, let it go. She's merely a media specter and an entrepreneur and shouldn't be the reason for you liberals to get your panties all bunched up; leave that one for the real reckoning - NO!vember.

David Serchuk said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thank you for your post, I welcome feedback.

I don't have the inclination to go through all your points one by one, after all you are mostly fighting my opinions with more opinions of your own.

But here is one fact that I can prove. In 1982 Reagan's approval rating was 43%, pretty darn low. You can see the link here:

Reagan's approval rating, btw, went down to 35% in 1982.

As for where I got the dump Reagan information, it was from research I did through a service called "Factiva" that allows you to search the archives of major media sources going back to the 1970s.

Here is a link to a NY Times article that states that in 1982 a majority of Americans did NOT want to see Reagan run for re-election:

And here is a good link to a posting by the Newark Star Ledger, that recounts Reagan's fall from grace halfway through his first term and how folks thought he was a "dead man walking." Believe me, plenty of Republicans were scared that he would be a drag. And he was, in 1982, the Republicans lost 27 house seats:

And it's Strangelove, not Stranglove.

Also, a friendly note, you have much more credibility with readers if you actually sign your name to something you write.